Monday, July 20, 2015

Home On The Range: Pony Farm live

18 JULY, 2015
A rare and ferocious summer rainstorm swept Brooklyn's Pony Farm into LA, greeting them with burning palm trees, graced by lightning. By nightfall, Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park saw but light sprinkles, and humid clouds sat overhead. By annexing another storefront, Lot 1 Cafe is perfectly suited for bands, and Taleen Kali (Tulips) organized the evening, spotlighting Pony Farm, captured in the midst of their Summer Adventure tour, with support from locals Hyacinth Girl and Bloody Death Skull. When the latter couldn't make it, Taleen made the calls and Mini Bear jumped in to lend a hand. While most of the bands were missing members or just plain suffering from sleep deprivation (Pony Farm), everyone was engaged, and the spirit shone through.

Last fall we met the band Tulips, opening for Chastity Belt in Lancaster, CA, and figured we'd cross paths again, sooner or later. In this case, it was in the form of a Taleen Kali solo set, as she kicked the night off with her own songs, jams from Tulips, and a cover ("Panda"). High points of the set were "Hollow Heart" and the closing ode to a departed friend, "Miles Away". Jumping in on no notice, Mini Bear performed as a duo, belying the "We're minimal tonight"declaration with a rich tapestry of darkwave sounds. "Techno Poly", from a forthcoming EP,  and "Nite Moves", (from 2013's Futurism), stood out. Hyacinth Girl put up a strong front, despite missing their lynchpin drummer. With two guitars, bass, sassy harmonies, and a clutch of often hilarious songs, they rode through the drummer void and came out on top, peaking with the ode to Governor Jerry Brown, "Do The Drought".

Having only heard the Rough Ponies demos, we took the leap of faith and were repaid a thousandfold, as Pony Farm essayed a captivating set. The trio, (Ariel, Kelly, and Lauren), were riding high with their new LP Charred Hate and Glitter catching up to them mid-tour, and they went on to showcase even newer songs, with "i don't like boys" and a california-themed song giving us something more to look forward to. With a cacaphonic intro giving way to "Swimming", it was off to the races. Every member brought something to the table, but there was a band chemistry beyond that that stood out the most. When they hit the bridge of "...boys", it was a moment of magic. The album is well produced, with the focus on highlighting the harmonies, but live, it's the muscular playing that takes over. Going forward, the band hits the I-10 trail through the Southwest and South, before heading back home. Thanks due to Taleen for her tireless organizing, and Lot 1 Cafe for hosting this special evening.





Sunday, July 12, 2015

Quarterbacks Step Into The Funzone...

10 JULY, 2015
On their first West Coast tour, Quarterbacks, the New Paltz, NY trio laid anchor at the Funzone in Santa Barbara. In celebration of their first full-length LP, (on Team Love Records), Dean Engle's crew kicked out a feral set in the sweaty clubhouse, before heading backing on the road to LA and the great Southwest. Overcoming intrusive microphones, the band kept focused, slamming into "Stay In Luv" with little restraint. The rest of the set measured up, and registers as one of the highlights of the summer, so far.